SEEdesign â Sharing Experience on Design Support
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) represent
a key element of national economies throughout the world and are therefore present
in the core of most of the policies for regional development. The ultimate challenge
is to help such companies to survive and grow. To do this it is necessary to create
a sustainable advantage that will allow them to compete in the market on a basis other
than cost. As the effective use of design can be useful in adding value to their products
and services (therefore strengthening their business) regional governments have been
endeavouring to promote the use of design within this sector.
The partners of this operation are design organisations
appointed by the regional authorities to undertake this task. They help to deliver
the regional strategy for providing assistance for SMEs in design issues. According
to the local and economic scenario, each organisation has developed different expertise
and mechanisms for delivering this advisory service. They have achieved maturity with
a track record of successful support for their local small business sector and now
are willing to share their experiences and enter a dialogue about how to further improve
their services. Seven organisations make up this partnership: PDR-Design Wales (UK),
Design Flandres (BE), The Design Centrum of the Czech Republic (CZ), Design Centre
Rhone-Alps (FR), Experimental Centre for Furniture and Furnishing - CSM (IT), Danish
Design Centre (DK) and The University of Manchester / CRIC (UK).
Activities during the three-year lifespan of the project
will include a series of workshops and seminars that will involve the seven partners,
invited design programmes and representatives of the small business sector in the
exchange of experiences in the practice of design support. A website, network database,
library of good practices and bulletins will be used to disseminate information.
In parallel, the design organisations will be cooperating
to assess the impact (or value) of their design advisory activity to the local economies.
This will address the widely recognized problem of a lack of reliable feedback in
this field. The outcome of this activity will contribute significantly to the task
of policy makers in developing improved strategies for design support in the SME sector.
SEEdesign is a 3-year project part-financed by the European
Union Development Fund (ERDF) within the INTERREG IIIC Programme. Its goal is to capture
and build upon the knowledge accumulated within the various design support programmes.
As a result it will help to improve the delivery of regional policies, enhance the
development of skills and knowledge that offer a sustainable competitive advantage
to regional European SMEs via more effective design support programme.
To improve the effectiveness of the support provided
for local SMEs relating to design issues in Europe, creating a network for the dissemination
of good practices on this field.
1. To create opportunities for practitioners to share
their experience of facilitating design support within SMEs, to learn from best practice,
to discuss common problems and to debate new issues for the future of this activity;
2. To create a forum for listening and learning from SMEs about their experience in
being advised on design issues, their criticisms and suggestions for improved service;
3. To discuss the significance of design in enhancing the competitiveness of enterprises
and its economic impact, based on an objective analysis of design support programmes;
4. To strengthen cooperation throughout European design bodies by disseminating information
gathered during the project and therefore encourage them to transfer and sustain good
examples into practice;
5. To stimulate new initiatives in design support for local small companies across
Europe, in particular in the weaker regions, providing them with the opportunity to
establish contacts with and learn from other practitioners;
6. To build a constructive network of European design organisations for the exchange
of good practice in design support and to facilitate cooperation in future joint projects.
For further information about SEEdesign contact:
Gisele Raulik (firstname.lastname@example.org
), at Design
Western Avenue â UWIC
Tel: 44 (0)29 20 417028
Fax: 44 (0)29 20 416970